Oookay, then. That… most certainly got dark.
All right, I’ll just say that I have quite a few questions, now. And I’m not going to be doing the usual beat-by-beat recap. So episodes 17 and 18 were actually pretty big on leading us into what I can only assume will be the climax. After all, we’re now halfway through this cour and not a lot has happened. 17 was almost entirely centered around exposition and character establishment. Especially as it pertained to the characters of Maki and (to a lesser extent) Suzuka. Didn’t tell us anything we couldn’t easily figure out through the visual storytelling of previous episodes. Maki’s grieving over Yume and she’s basically taken to fighting Princess Tagitsu out of that grief and, presumably, guilt over her past actions.
Meanwhile, we learn more about the Princesses and their objectives, which is actually pretty interesting. Short-lived, but interesting. We also learn how Origami is still alive. But I’ll get back to that. So the Great Aradama, after splitting off from Origami, divided itself into three parts because, for lack of a better term, the voice in its head started disagreeing with one another. It’s sort of like how the Geth hive mind in the Mass Effect games split itself into factions – some followed the Reapers, others didn’t. In this case, there are three princesses. The one we’re most familiar way, Tagitsu, is the main one. And she wants to exterminate humans. You know. Like ya do. The one we met last time wants to subjugate humans. And the one we’re introduced to in this very episode wants to fused the Aradama with humani- …why are there so many Mass Effect parallels in this show about cute girls fighting with magic katanas?
Anyway, we eventually learn that Origami survived because Princess Tagitsu jumped ship before they could perish together. How, exactly, that fixed the huge hole they left in her abdomen, I have no idea. But she’s alive. And apparently still physically a 17-year-old. So I guess for all those years people just thought she moisturized really well. Seriously. No one outside of her circle asked about that? Not a single person? The woman’s nearly 40. Someone had to get suspicious about that. But then the other factor is that this is anime and the more dynamic characters tend to “suffer” from Peter Pan syndrome. They pretty much all stop aging after a certain point. If they hadn’t specifically stated that she was still physically 17, I wouldn’t have thought about it.
Anyway, I joke but the setup is actually pretty interesting. Somewhat. The idea of the war between these three princesses is cool to think about. The direction things end up going by the end of episode 18 is disappointing in that regard. But still not altogether unenjoyable. Especially after planting the seeds that maybe one of the Princesses would be swayed to joining the good guys. And the way that’s handled is through a fairly nice little look into Nene’s character which shows us his backstory. Even the cute little Pokemon-esque mascot of the series was certain to have a story. And it’s actually kind of sweet.
Episode 18 takes things in a dark direction. To be blunt, Yomi basically maims an entire group of Toji-in-Training because of this cour’s convenient little plot-device. Specifically, Princess Tagitsu can evidently control anyone with Aradama in them. I have no idea how she isn’t controlling Maki and Suzuka. Maybe she doesn’t want to. But she has Yomi do this in order to pressure the president of one of the schools into performing the Aradama procedure on them so she can save their lives. Now then. This was a dirty, underhanded trick that actually adds a lot of tension to the situation, clearly establishes that she doesn’t want anything to do with this, and creates a much more dramatic conflict for our leads. Because now they’ll have to fight fellow Toji – including Kanami’s number 1 fangirl.
At least… that’s what this would do. Except what it really does is expose a few… holes. Now, it’s entirely possible this will get rectified in future episodes. But the controlled Toji don’t really do… anything. Yes, they give the main 6 some trouble. But they’re basically just a distraction. One that Princess Tagitsu doesn’t appear to even need, considering how the episode ultimately goes. These leads to a fairly sad, but somewhat well-handled (also totally inevitable, let’s be honest) moment for Kanami. But the brainwashed Toji (who, by the way, seem to maintain some aspects of their personality because… reasons. Though Kanami’s fangirl is the only one who matters) are pretty quickly dealt with when Nene decides to show off his real power. Aaand then Princess Tagitsu just wails on him for a bit, beating him singlehandedly. Sure, she just got a power boost. But it seemed a little forced, ultimately.
But here’s my biggest problem with this. The president used the Aradama technique on these girls in order to save their lives. Question – How does it do that? Did it only work because Princess is controlling them? Does it only heal physical wounds and nothing else? Does it only repair the body when it’s first applied? Last I checked, all it did was give you a power boost. If these things can keep you from dying, then why did Yume still die? This becomes especially perplexing when you think about Origami, who survived after de-merged from hers. Did it just take its injuries with it? Did it actively heal her upon leaving? Why would it do that? It wants to kill all the humans, right? Furthermore, why bother controlling Toji at all? Why not just create a ton of the big, monster Aradama? It never said she couldn’t control those. Why can’t she? Clearly even with your little power boost, one of those is still a tough enemy for the Toji and requires multiple people to fight unless you’re S-Tier. There can’t be that many Toji in the world if they all come from four schools. Are you on a time limit? That can’t be it because you already know the other two Princesses are being guarded, so they’re not factoring into your little war game, right now. They’re basically just pawns to you, right?
These episodes present a lot of really good ideas, but I honestly think some of it could’ve used a little more time in the oven. By far the best aspect of either was the stuff involving Nene, which is genuinely surprising to me. There was a lot of metaphysical stuff about Kanami and Hiyori’s mothers, but it was basically just fuel for the “our mothers are linked to the sword” theory. This is, of course, entirely unsurprising.
Another bright spot in the episode was their actually building on Maki’s character. It kinda sucks that Yume was basically fridged, especially considering her demise just doesn’t add anything. I feel like Maki would’ve come to this decision anyway, just based on finding out she was on the wrong side. She’s a very noble person who just made some mistakes. That’s all the motivation she really needs. As for Suzuka… well… her motivation seems to legitimately be a crush on Maki. Not the most complex thing in the world, but it’s cute. And before you ask. No. Maki doesn’t get it.
Overall, I’d say these episodes were pretty good. Of course, the show has, for the most part, managed to find its stride, so I’m not expecting a ton of fluctuation anymore. They’re solid Junk Food. Nothing more or less, really. If you’re looking for something a little more outlandish, probably check out Butlers x Battlers.
Toji no Miko is Simulcast on Crunchyroll, Fridays at 10:00am EST. That’s all for me, here, folks. As always, thanks for reading. Keep up the awesome.